A companion volume or sequel to "My Father's Moon". World War II has recently finished and the narrator is a hospital nurse somewhere in England. She's been having an affair with one of the surgeons, and is now pregnant. When the doctor dies, she leaves the hospital and takes a series of jobs.
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Some would have said that one volume, Jolley's last, My Father's Moon (1989), was enough spent on Vera Wright's airless coming-of-age; but, here, the young English nurse's coming-of-age keeps right on coming, only a tad less ungratifyingly than before. Vera is, as readers will recall from book one, one weird little WW II-era English girl, a little shifty, mulish, flaky, and much too innocent--though she never shakes her fist at heaven when struck by bad luck. Jonathan Metcalf, a married doctor at her teaching hospital, is the principal bringer of misfortune, since he gets her pregnant and then dies in the war, leaving Vera to take herself off to the home of a particularly distasteful couple, where she serves as mother's helper. When her baby, Helena, comes, she's delighted to make her escape from their diet foods and cloying pet-names, landing in a nursing home where she scrubs down walls and buries herself, while Helena grows into a unhealthily silent child. At last the need to join the living returns, and after a quick stint at a grim progressive school, Vera keeps house for an elderly brother and sister, conceiving illegitimate baby number two with the old boy, Mr. George. Interspersed are flashbacks and flashforwards to Vera in other times, but these are more dislocating than elucidating. And, besides, after a while one simply stops wanting to learn more about the all-too-unenthralling character. Jolley's trademark humor nips like a saucy dog at the heels of the proceedings, but never manages to draw blood--which is why fans of UK comedy would be better served by a spin through Fay Weldon. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Readers of Jolley's last novel, My Father's Moon , will be swept by deja vu as they read this work, which deals with the same incidents in the life of narrator Vera Wright, a nursing student in London during WW II who has an illegitimate child by a married doctor. There is one difference, however, and it is considerable: while the earlier book seemed cool and detached, here Jolley creates an atmosphere of almost palpable sorrow and desolation that elicits the reader's empathy. Though the language is again restrained, here we feel the quivering emotions that Vera suffers to bring under control: her longing for her lover, who has died in the war; her panic about raising a child alone; her regrets about her aborted career; her conflicting feelings about her parents, who want to help, but from whom she resolves to remain independent; her maturing insights about the people who have loved and/or damaged her. Jolley excels in her portrait of this frightened, lonely, unsophisticated, heartbroken woman, bravely determined to save herself and her child. Narrated in a series of short, intense flashbacks by the adult Vera, who has come to a medical conference in New York City only to find herself emotionally incapable of leaving her hotel room, the novel conveys the claustrophobic grip of unbearably poignant memories, the essence of bereavement, and the resiliency of the human spirit. Psychologically acute and penetrating, this is Jolley writing with masterful power. First serial to the New Yorker.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Perennial, 1992. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX006092151X
Book Description Perennial, 1992. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 006092151X